Candide, Or, Optimism

Candide, Or, Optimism

Book - 2005
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In this splendid new translation of Voltaire's satiric masterpiece, all the celebrated wit, irony, and trenchant social commentary of one of the great works of the Enlightenment is restored and refreshed.

Voltaire may have cast a jaundiced eye on eighteenth-century Europe-a place that was definitely not the "best of all possible worlds." But amid its decadent society, despotic rulers, civil and religious wars, and other ills, Voltaire found a mother lode of comic material. And this is why Peter Constantine's thoughtful translation is such a pleasure, presenting all the book's subtlety and ribald joys precisely as Voltaire had intended.

The globe-trotting misadventures of the youthful Candide; his tutor, Dr. Pangloss; Martin, and the exceptionally trouble-prone object of Candide's affections, Cunégonde, as they brave exile, destitution, cannibals, and numerous deprivation, provoke both belly laughs and deep contemplation about the roles of hope and suffering in human life.

The transformation of Candide's outlook from panglossian optimism to realism neatly lays out Voltaire's philosophy-that even in Utopia, life is less about happiness than survival-but not before providing us with one of literature's great and rare pleasures.
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 2005
Edition: Modern Library paperback ed. --
ISBN: 9780812972016
Branch Call Number: FIC Volta 3558ad 1
Characteristics: xvii, 119 p. --
Additional Contributors: Constantine, Peter 1963-
Alternative Title: Candide


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May 16, 2010

Another surprisingly readable classic, very accessible and very funny. This short work gives huge points on the well-read meter. Unfortunately, even at less than 100 pages, it still managed to drag on a bit. I certainly didn’t get all of the jibes and in-jokes, but it’s impossible not to see the humour and the point being made when you satirize the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds.

I was a bit miffed that the author was anti-racist, religiously tolerant, and unbiased by class, yet still had the main character want to dump his fiancee when she lost her looks.

Jun 20, 2006

Voltaire's most renowned work lives up to its expectations. His style of writing keeps the reader thoroughly interested with only a few slow spots. His description is imaginative but not overdone. If you like this wonderfully written masterpiece, Leonard Berstien used the novella to create a comical operetta that is also very entertaining. Enjoy!

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